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View Full Version : Economics Why hasn't South America Evolved as Quickly as the US?


Otter
06-11-2011, 04:53 AM
I got into a discussion about this last night which was a branch off from an illegal immigration debate (shocker I know) and have to admit I have no real answers. They have every natural resource that the US has at its disposal so what's holding them back?

Is it corrupt government? Lack of education? Suppression?

The woman I was discussing it with was an Obama loving liberal that claimed the US has "crushed every attempt at building a democracy" but considering the source I don't give it any more validity than someone from the other side of the spectrum who would claim their beliefs as the cause.

I did some very basic Google research and there's not much to say one way or the other. I remember reading "Gun's, Germs and Steel" back in college and from what I can remember none of that really applies given their access to logistics and the money resources they have at their disposal.

Any real insight as to why?

I'm going to toss around the fly rod and then going to watch the MMA fights so I won't be around a lot until Monday but I'm really interested on theories on this matter if anyone has insight.

NewChief
06-11-2011, 04:58 AM
First thought: Lots of different countries vs. a single country. I also think that you can't underestimate the impact that establishing free, public education early on in the game had on our country in allowing us to pave the way in innovation and industry. Finally, our economic system was set up to allow rapid conversion of resources to wealth, and we had a plethora of resources.

Of all of these, I think our education system was the driving force (of course, I'm an educator) and underlying backbone.

Otter
06-11-2011, 05:00 AM
First thought: Lots of different countries vs. a single country. I also think that you can't underestimate the impact that establishing free, public education early on in the game had on our country in allowing us to pave the way in innovation and industry. Finally, our economic system was set up to allow rapid conversion of resources to wealth, and we had a plethora of resources.

Of all of these, I think our education system was the driving force (of course, I'm an educator) and underlying backbone.

So why isn't that a priority for them to fix? Maybe you can't do it for the whole country but take Brazil for example, why haven't they taken this on with all the resources at their disposal?

NewChief
06-11-2011, 05:07 AM
So why isn't that a priority for them to fix?

They may not recognize it as the cause. Those in power there may have reasons they'd prefer to not have the masses educated. Also the long-term rewards of education are long-term and not easily measurable, so it's a hard justification when you're looking at where to spend your money. Just look at our current movement in education: the taxpayers want immediate (at at least timely), measurable dividends on their investment in the form of test scores. Education doesn't always work like that, as it often plants seeds that don't grow until later down the road (though I agree that certain baseline measurables need to be addressed, I don't want us to reduce education to nothing more than getting all students to reach that baseline ala NCLB).

|Zach|
06-11-2011, 05:09 AM
So why isn't that a priority for them to fix? Maybe you can't do it for the whole country but take Brazil for example, why haven't they taken this on with all the resources at their disposal?

I thought (could be wrong) that Brazil was really on the up and up. But it could have just been from a business stand point.

HonestChieffan
06-11-2011, 05:12 AM
Once Butch and Sundance hit Bolivia, it was all over.

Otter
06-11-2011, 05:16 AM
I thought (could be wrong) that Brazil was really on the up and up. But it could have just been from a business stand point.

From my understanding (which is minimal) they are but they economy is much like Dubia where's there's no virtually no middle class. It's the haves and the have nots.

So why? I obviously don't know.

BucEyedPea
06-11-2011, 05:18 AM
I got into a discussion about this last night which was a branch off from an illegal immigration debate (shocker I know) and have to admit I have no real answers. They have every natural resource that the US has at its disposal so what's holding them back?

Is it corrupt government? Lack of education? Suppression?

The woman I was discussing it with was an Obama loving liberal that claimed the US has "crushed every attempt at building a democracy" but considering the source I don't give it any more validity than someone from the other side of the spectrum who would claim their beliefs as the cause.

I did some very basic Google research and there's not much to say one way or the other. I remember reading "Gun's, Germs and Steel" back in college and from what I can remember none of that really applies given their access to logistics and the money resources they have at their disposal.

Any real insight as to why?

I'm going to toss around the fly rod and then going to watch the MMA fights so I won't be around a lot until Monday but I'm really interested on theories on this matter if anyone has insight.

A very good book to read is Mainspring of Human Progress about why natural resources, and being one large single state is not a reason why. Nor is public education if that education teaches them the state is needed for too many things. Afterall, America grew from a backward wilderness in record breaking time without a public education system during the 19th century. It's actually how free an area is and having legal systems based on natural law. Most places don't have these fundamentals. Most places claim to get their rights from govt. SA developed out of Spain as well. Besides, don't they have public education in South America? They did in the Soviet Union as well. Look where that got them. So that's not it either. Anyhow, this book explains these things. Basically, it's a mentality.

This book is one of the books that lead to a turning point in changing me from a statist liberal to where I am now. It's not a big tome either.

Meanwhile, CNN has this dupe saying how the common denominator is govt/business in combination is what lead to America's development, including the 19th century. The record contradicts that since most govt R&D occurred post WWII.

BucEyedPea
06-11-2011, 06:45 AM
Well whatta ya' know! The Mainspring of Human Progress is available in pdf format off of wikipedia.

At the bottom under External Links!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mainspring_of_Human_Progress

notorious
06-11-2011, 06:49 AM
Fantastic Thread.


This is going to be some excellent reading!

redsurfer11
06-11-2011, 07:36 AM
I got into a discussion about this last night which was a branch off from an illegal immigration debate (shocker I know) and have to admit I have no real answers. They have every natural resource that the US has at its disposal so what's holding them back?

Is it corrupt government? Lack of education? Suppression?

The woman I was discussing it with was an Obama loving liberal that claimed the US has "crushed every attempt at building a democracy" but considering the source I don't give it any more validity than someone from the other side of the spectrum who would claim their beliefs as the cause.

I did some very basic Google research and there's not much to say one way or the other. I remember reading "Gun's, Germs and Steel" back in college and from what I can remember none of that really applies given their access to logistics and the money resources they have at their disposal.

Any real insight as to why?

I'm going to toss around the fly rod and then going to watch the MMA fights so I won't be around a lot until Monday but I'm really interested on theories on this matter if anyone has insight.




We have the Constitution. They have not.

RedNeckRaider
06-11-2011, 07:43 AM
We have the Constitution. They have not.
They have a two tier society of wealth and poverty. Their government is completely corrupted. We are not there yet but we are working on it~

BucEyedPea
06-11-2011, 07:56 AM
We have the Constitution. They have not.

Oh they have Constitutions. They just don't have ours. Ours does not give us our rights they are presumed to exist naturally. Our Constitution primarily tells our govt what it cannot do, what it can do and in some places how to do: make no law,do not infringe,do not quarter, don't conduct,don't commit, don't deny, do not impose, don't exercise any power not authorized in this Constitution.

BucEyedPea
06-11-2011, 08:00 AM
They have a two tier society of wealth and poverty. Their government is completely corrupted. We are not there yet but we are working on it~

That is happening here because our Constitution gets shredded by the left and right, tearing up the protections of our natural rights and gives more power to the state who is protecting certain corporations by handing them markets abroad. This creates pressure from above on the middle-class. It sets up the false choice of socialism and over-regulation that leads to pressure from below by the leftists. It's like putting the middle-class in a vise with pressure from above and pressure from below. It is not working either.

South America, as most countries, have two tiers because they have always had more authoritarian govts. This is a hold over from the Olde World in particular Spain. Europe, after living under monarchs for so long, like govt that is more authoritarian too. That is another reason why, along with their rights coming from govt, is why a European's sense of liberty isn't as expansive as it has been in the US.

WoodDraw
06-11-2011, 09:18 PM
I'd be careful about talking about South America as one entity. There are significant differences between the counties - culturally, economically, and politically. But anyway, it's an interesting subject. I'm living in Argentina right now, and I'm not sure I am any closer to understanding it than when I arrived.

Time for sleep now, but I'll bookmark this and write some thoughts soon.

banyon
06-11-2011, 09:31 PM
While Brazil and Argentina in particular are resource-rich, their resources are in relatively arduous locations to actually extract, much like the oil sands of Alberta, Canada. Only with newer technologies and increased commodity prices could these resources begin to be developed and extracted in the heart of the Amazonian Rainforest and the Mountains and plateaus of the Andes/Patagonia.

BucEyedPea
06-11-2011, 09:40 PM
I'd be careful about talking about South America as one entity. There are significant differences between the counties - culturally, economically, and politically. But anyway, it's an interesting subject. I'm living in Argentina right now, and I'm not sure I am any closer to understanding it than when I arrived.

Time for sleep now, but I'll bookmark this and write some thoughts soon.

They are different but have any of them developed like the US or as rapidly? Nyet!

Bump
06-11-2011, 10:09 PM
not being racist but every single country that is not mostly controlled by white people is basically a third world country (excluding asia).

FAX
06-11-2011, 11:02 PM
I have often wondered the same thing about Africa. An impressive and even awesome wealth of natural resources basically allowed to lie fallow while a tribal culture persisted.

In ancient times, the "South Americans" were relatively advanced compared to European nations. As were many areas on the African continent. Eventually, however, the peoples of these continents/nations evolved into functional tribal cultures as their primary survival mechanism. Historically, tribal traditions tend to be spiritually oriented and less inclined to wealth building.

On the other hand, somewhere along the way (and due primarily, perhaps, to the need to fund war), countries like Great Britain decided to maximize the acquisition of wealth by organizing their resources and emphasizing the importance of domination as an imperialistic trading state. Tribal cultures, on the other hand, maintained their focus on a seasonal survival associated more directly and intimately with natural cycles. The US was, of course, born out of the "trading state" mentality. Throw in the Christian Missionary Philosophy and you have a recipe for the oppression (and oftentimes the destruction) of indigenous tribal systems.

North America was settled and founded on the premise that the opportunistic ravaging of resources was preferable to a symbiotic relationship with nature. Who is to say which philosophy will prove to be preferable over the long run?

FAX

RedNeckRaider
06-12-2011, 05:53 AM
I'd be careful about talking about South America as one entity. There are significant differences between the counties - culturally, economically, and politically. But anyway, it's an interesting subject. I'm living in Argentina right now, and I'm not sure I am any closer to understanding it than when I arrived.

Time for sleep now, but I'll bookmark this and write some thoughts soon.

You are right. I posted with Mexico in mind and that is not the model for all the countries. What in the heck brought you to Argentina? Do you like it?

Okie_Apparition
06-12-2011, 06:39 AM
They have the Native Indians, but not the Negros, Chinese & Irish to exploit

Boiled Chicken
06-12-2011, 07:12 AM
Watch Niall Ferguson's, Civilization: Is the West History? He goes into some of these topics.

tmh
06-12-2011, 07:23 PM
No strong rule of law for all people, would be my guess.

ChiefsCountry
06-12-2011, 09:56 PM
England > Spain/Portguael

Brock
06-12-2011, 09:59 PM
They came, they took the gold, and they left.

Rain Man
06-12-2011, 10:27 PM
Great question.

Here's my guess. South America was further away physically from Europe, and so the early expansion happened at a lower rate. The United States benefitted from lucky timing in that we had the critical mass of population and raw resources to take advantage of the Industrial Revolution as it was happening, whereas the South American countries hadn't reached that point when the Industrial Revolution occurred.

Also, maybe a bigger factor is that the South American countries were colonies a lot longer, whereas the United States was an independent nation. The purpose of colonies was to take the resources from resource-rich places and return them to England or Spain or Portugal or wherever, so their bounty helped make some European countries gain prosperity instead of helping the home region prosper. In the U.S., our ancestors were working for themselves, which gave them more ambition and kept more dollars at home.

whoman69
06-13-2011, 01:17 AM
South American countries were built upon their major wealth being stolen and taken to Europe. Those riches were squandered in petty wars. Corruption became the name of the game down there and continues to this day. Their land is still mostly inhospitable, their cities built without the technological innovations that started the US. If you watched the History Channel recently there was a documentary called "America: The Story of Us", it described how the US was built upon risk and innovation. It has become a part of the landscape and thinking in the US. Many South American countries were built upon going into an area, controlling it militarily, exploiting the region for resources until they pan out and then moving on. Spain left many of their New World colonies on their own because they could not afford to run them anymore. Paraguay recently celebrated the bi-centennial of their independece, less than 50 years after the US. Within 15 years most of South America was independent of Spain or Portuagal but still built upon the ashes of the corrupt Spanish model. Even a country like Venezuela with their oil riches, is still mostly a third world country, it resources exploited, but those riches not reaching the average person.

Unlike the US their lands were not built upon immigrant stock for the most part. Their people are a mix of Spanish and native stock. The weather is also a major factor in the ability to make the most of their resources as well. Countries are either sweltering or freezing.

Silock
06-13-2011, 02:38 AM
For one thing, look at Chile. They sucked for a while, but once they started liberalizing their trade, they really took off. Not only that, but they manage their economy so that they don't spend every surplus they have, so that when a downturn hits, they are better able to manage it.

Secondly, Argentina was doing very, very well up to the beginning of the 1900's. They were close to the U.S. in terms of per capita income and GDP. Then, things started going downhill because of their protectionist trade policies. Didn't work out so well for them.

Thirdly, you can probably point to a little bit of geographic determinism for South America. They didn't have animals that had the capability of expanding their farm infrastructure (llamas aren't going to cut it). Central America isn't very conducive to farming, either (at least not in terms of large-scale efficiency). So, as more people have to devote more time and effort to farming, there is less effort being spent on technological and trade development. Big problem.

There's not a simple solution to their problems, but opening up trade and not being so damned socialist and protectionist with their trade policies would go a long way to helping them achieve some prosperity.

HonestChieffan
06-13-2011, 05:31 AM
Dont overlook how they perfected the "Military Junta". No one does it better than Central and SA Junta makers.

donkhater
06-13-2011, 05:52 AM
Oh they have Constitutions. They just don't have ours. Ours does not give us our rights they are presumed to exist naturally. Our Constitution primarily tells our govt what it cannot do, what it can do and in some places how to do: make no law,do not infringe,do not quarter, don't conduct,don't commit, don't deny, do not impose, don't exercise any power not authorized in this Constitution.

This is a key point the average person misses about our Constitution, IMO. I do not think the average American knows how truly unique our Constitution is in the world. How many other countries have a founding document that says what people in power CAN't do to them? and to the extent this one does?

Is it any wonder people flock to this country in droves?

vailpass
06-13-2011, 11:26 AM
Too many siestas.

Ace Gunner
06-13-2011, 12:14 PM
maybe america didn't 'evolve' ??? just a thot comrades

vailpass
06-13-2011, 12:24 PM
maybe america didn't 'evolve' ??? just a thot comrades

I can open my garage doors, activate my home theatre, program my dvr, turn on my jacuzzi, activate my security system,start my car, all by pushing a button while sitting in my chair.
Yeah, we've evolved.

Ace Gunner
06-13-2011, 12:29 PM
that's not evolution, that's convenience

vailpass
06-13-2011, 12:31 PM
that's not evolution, that's convenience

The Professor rigging a fan using palm fronds and a piece of rope was convenience.
Remote-control hot tubs is pure evolution.

Ace Gunner
06-13-2011, 12:31 PM
btw- there are cars & remotes in south america

vailpass
06-13-2011, 12:33 PM
btw- there are cars & remotes in south america

I've seen those. They hit the button and the car explodes right?